Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I had planned to drive to church today, as it is my day in the office, but Mother Nature had other plans. It has been snowing constantly - sometimes heavier and sometimes lighter - all day so far. Although I could have gotten to the church ok, I'm not sure I would have made it home. Making visits would've proved treacherous as well.
So, I'm having a work day at home. Writing my sermon and doing preparations for Epiphany Sunday - making star words and cutting out all the many stars. Star gifts for the folks at church. I had to take a break as my hand was getting sore after cutting out 12 pages of stars.
Christmas Eve was very good. The roads were a bit wet but not snowy. I had plenty time to prepare the bread and do some things. By 6 pm it was starting to snow and I went out and spread some salt around. I escorted a visitor up the lift to the sanctuary. Gave out Christmas activity sheets to the children as they entered.
The first service went fairly well. Just a couple of glitches - instead of the Glory to God, the song leader sang the refrain from Angels We Have Heard on High which was to come later in the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving. The hymns moved along without dragging. I gave the Sursum Corda before the invitation to communion. And the choir, those who showed up early, had a bit of trouble with their anthem before the candlelighting. But for the most part, the service was good.
Between services, the choir had rehearsal, and after some wine, cheese and crackers, and Christmas cookies, they sang considerably better at the late service!!!
We did it all correctly at the late service. Communion was meaningful with the bread wrapped in linen in the manger on the altar.
I gave away my gas money to a youth member who's dad is in the hospital with a fatal illness and who has hardly any money to buy meals and pay for lodging at the prominent hospital on the North Coast. So, I gave him my gas money to help buy his meals. I still had just enough to fill my tank.
I left the church, after locking up and turning off the lights, at 11:45 pm and headed home with the gifts of 2 $50.00 bills from parishioners, a gas card, 2 boxes of chocolate and a box of Christmas cookies.
The gift was, that as I gave what I had, I was given even more in return. The gift was, two good worship services - glitches aside. The gift was the celebrating the birth of our Savior and Lord and receiving the love, hope, peace, grace, and joy, that he came to bring. The gift was, it stopped snowing by 8 pm and warmed up some, so that when I left it was 42 degrees and the roads were merely wet and not icy. The gift was, that at that time of night traffic was light. The gift was, both LH and I, got home safely. I was blessed with gifts and riches on a night full of the Gift of God.
The wonder of Christmas never disappoints me and the miracle of that night so long ago, continues to be a miracle each and every year - no matter the hardships or grief or difficulties. Christmas comes each year with unexpected surprises and with a wonder so great, one can only be silent before it.

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